Google’s new robot taxi has no steering wheel

Google has just presented its very first autonomous robot taxi in Los Angeles. It was designed with the Chinese company Geely.

Waymo is a sub-company of the Alphabet firm, the name given to the group that runs Google, among others. This division allows Google to better square the development of its projects and to launch into many areas without bringing the name of the company with them. During a recent presentation made in Los Angeles, the brand announced that it had collaborated with the luxury firm Zeekr belonging to the Chinese Geely.

With this first concept, Waymo presents its robot taxi prototype. The car was built without a steering wheel, which suggests that it will be fully autonomous. Today Waymo already uses cars to run errands in a handful of cities like San Francisco or Los Angeles. It is estimated that 600 self-driving cars are already on the road in the United States.

This partnership with Geely allows Waymo to produce its very first autonomous car. Although it is still only a concept car, the brand hopes to be able to quickly enter production and offer races with its autonomous car. Announced at the end of 2021, this partnership with the Chinese manufacturer allows the Google sub-company to think big.

Geely: anything but a newborn

Geely is not very well known in Europe, but the group has several big names in the car industry. Brands like Volvo or Lotus belong in particular to this Asian company. Since the takeover of Aston Martin by the Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, the group even has a stake in the silent English sports car company.

This partnership with Waymo therefore allows the Geely group to enter a whole new market, that of robot taxis. While many companies are currently working on the design of such a vehicle, the product of this collaboration between Google and Geely seems to have paid off.

An autonomous car on the roads in 2024?

With the Zeekr M, presented on the same day as the Waymo One Zeekr, the Chinese brand even thinks of being able to produce its car on a large scale in 2024. As far as autonomy is concerned, the car should be able to last 16 hours on roads before the battery is completely discharged.

This figure is still a very broad estimate and it will be necessary to wait for the first laps of these two concept cars to know the real autonomy of such a robot taxi. With its ultra-advanced on-board computer system, Google’s car could have a very limited range of no more than 50 or 100 kilometers.

For the moment we know very little about the design of this car, but the two brands assure that they will soon give more details on the technique used for the manufacture of such a car. As far as the design is concerned, it is reminiscent of that of Amazon’s Zoox.

Google, Amazon, Apple: do we take the same ones and start over?

Today this concept car has not yet rolled but the e-commerce giant intends to speed things up. In competition with Google for many services, the two new technology giants could find another GAFAM in the market for robot taxis and autonomous cars.

For several years Apple has been working on the design of its own car. No information has yet been formalized by the apple on this subject, but several rumors expect the market to explode around the years 2024 or 2025.

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